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Monday, December 8, 2014

France won't hand over warships to Russia

In 2011, France signed a deal with Russia to build and sell two warships and train Russian sailors how to operate them.  The ships are designed to transport hundreds of troops to a battlefield by sea, along with equipment and support they would need, including tanks and helicopters.

But now France says they may never be delivered.

"It's possible we may never deliver them" French Defence Minister Mr Le Drian said.  "The Russians must realize the situation."

They were supposed to be handed over in October but France announced in September that conditions for delivery had not been met. It's argued that the ships would enhance Russia's naval capabilities at a time when the Ukraine crisis is still ongoing.

"I'm a bit tired of this topic" Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov said at a news conference in Switzerland.  "This is not our problem, it's a problem for France's reputation."

Mr Lavrov met with US Secretary of State, John Kerry on Thursday, who accused Russia of sending "hundreds of Russian soldiers" to eastern Ukraine "who fight and die in a country where they have no right to be."